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Vol 25, No. 05, May 2021   |   Issue PDF view/purchase
COLUMNS
Harnessing the Power of Technology to Build a Fairer, Healthier World
Healthcare is the cornerstone of social and economic development, and of global health security. Building strong health systems is not only an investment in healthier populations, but also an investment in safer and more stable societies. Intrinsic to laying the groundwork for those resilient health systems is harnessing the power of digital technologies, the adoption of which has certainly been accelerated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

COVID-19 aside, the demand for healthcare in Asia continues to be fuelled by a rise in non-communicable diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer. These diseases, coupled with an aging population, have set healthcare expenditure in Southeast Asia on a pre-COVID path to grow by over 70 percent between 2018 and 2025.

In Vietnam alone, healthcare expenditure reached US$16.1 billion in 2017 and it is expected to grow at a compound annual growth rate of 12.5 percent between 2017 and 2021. Additionally, Vietnam was one of the only two ASEAN nations to afford the highest share in GDP for public healthcare expenditure. In fact, at present rates of growth in healthcare spending per capita and overall population growth, all ASEAN nations must expect a massive increase in overall spending – and this is without considering the potential acceleration through compound effects of future demographics and health risk factors today.

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